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Sermon for 9 August 2015



My Dear people,

This week we celebrated the Feastday of the Patron saint of all priests – Saint John Mary Vianney. He was a Parish Priest in Ars which is a village near Lyon in France. He died in 1859. The then Bishop, Bishop Brain and a group of priests (including me) from this diocese visited that village on retreat some years ago which now enshrines the saint's body and burial place and made a retreat there. It was very moving.

Some years ago Pope (Saint) John Paul visited the shrine and suggested that a seminary should be built there. The local Bishop said that seminaries they had plenty of but seminarians they did not. The Pope replied by saying that if you build a seminary here it will be full.

The Bishop got all the priests of France to subscribe and a seminary was built and it is full and the students are full of faith and zeal. They go to many French diocese and we even met an Irish seminarian preparing for an Irish diocese.

John Vianney was so good a priest the devil used to physically attack him if a great sinner was coming to confession the next day. The saint sometimes heard confessions for sixteen hours a day. He could see through to your very soul. The railway station in Lyon had a special kiosk for tickers for Ars – for people going to go to confession to the saintly priest. He used to give little Penances and he would do the Penance for the Big Sinners himself – prayer and fasting. He lived off boiled spuds too.

He worked miracles – multiplying grain that had run out so the orphanage he founded for fatherless girls left over from the wars raging around could eat their daily bread. He even helped to build the orphanage with his own hands andfounded an Order of nuns to run it.

He taught the people the Catholic way of life which was pleasing to God and years after his death the people used to sing the catechetical songs he taught them in the fields where they worked which helped them remember and keep the Divine truths of the Christian and Catholic way of life.

The village of Ars was transformed from a small droopy town with few practising Catholics to a dynamic and religious town where nobody missed Mass. St John Vianney transformed the parish by his love for our Lord and our Lady. St Philomena was his great patron and he ascribed miracles to her but folk believed that it was he who did some of those miracles but the saint wanted to divert attention away from himself. He was seen talking to our Lord and our Lady by reliable witnesses. No wonder the Pope made him the Patron for all priests not just Parish Priests as he was before.

On Tuesday last, was the Saint's feast, 4th August That was the day too that the Salford Diocese Lourdes pilgrimage prayed for us all back home in the Diocese and especially the Sick.

Fr George has gone off to India to visit his family for a few weeks (his sister is very poorly) and , so it leaves me and Father David here.

Hope all of you can get a few days relaxation away from your daily grind.

God Bless,

Father Tom Connolly.

(St Edwards- Fr Kevin Murphy , newly ordained, is offering the 10 o Clock Mass this weekend and giving his blessing afterwards- he will bless you and then you kiss his newly anointed hands as a sign of reverence for the presence of Jesus in those hands which will hold the Body and Blood of the Saviour and will bless and lay hand on the sick and bless abundantly for the rest of his life!)

Bidding Prayers


Priest : Christ heals the sick and feeds the hungry, He continues to provide for our needs as we come to Mass to be nourished. We seek that food which Christ gives and which lasts for eternal life.. We pray for our needs and the needs of our world.

We pray for the church - called to be the Body of Christ on earth that we followers of Christ may proclaim by our way of life, He who is the Bread of Life. Lord in your mercy.

For thanks for the harvest and the fruits of the earth and those who labour tilling and caring for the earth. Lord in your mercy. For all those fellow Christians deprived of the Mass and therefore the Bread of Life, the Lord's risen Body. Watch over them Lord in their isolation and bring them freedom again. We pray especially for the persecuted Christians of Syria and Libya and Pakistan who are trying to live under ISIL and other militant groups who persecute Christ's Followers. Lord in your mercy.

We pray for those people fleeing their homeland and trying to come here – that our welfare agencies provide help and compassion. Lord in your mercy.

We pray for our young people that in a world which promotes lifestyles and attitudes contrary to Christ's Divine teaching they may hold on to what is truly valuable – the love of Christ. Lord, in your mercy.

We pray for the sick and those who care for them that their dignity and value be assured by our love and care: Sylvia Cummings, Tom and Brenda Lynch, Ann Dorian, Annie Brady, Eileen Creavan, Michael Joseph Connolly, Agnes Ginsenan, Pat Snype, Owen Breheny, Elizabeth Leyden, Peter Short, Denis McLoughlin, Jim Dunne, Mary Fitzpatrick. Lord in your mercy.

For all who have died recently that they may see the face of Christ in Heaven: - Mary Gallagher, Eileen Hill, Thomas Sheehan, Catherine Lewes, John Penton and For those whose anniversaries we hold near this time: John Scannell, Afram Zaer, Margaret Grimes, Mr P. Serridge, Margaret Morris (11.30 Month's MIND 8th August), Rose McFarlane, Edward Russell, Peter McFarlane, Patricia McGregor, Sally Russell, Frankie Dwyer.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed..through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

O Mary, conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse to thee. Hail Mary, full of grace.

Priest: O Lord and Eternal Father – your Son has given himself to us in the Eucharistic sacrifice as food for eternal life. Listen to the prayers of your people who come to present themselves to you in ardent faith in all their needs. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.